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Photos: Sarah McLachlan shines with songs, stories, skill at Artpark

by jmaloni
Fri, Aug 2nd 2019 03:45 pm
Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan

McLachlan opens up about personal experiences, offers praise for BPO

Review by Joshua Maloni

Managing Editor

Sunny skies and warm weather; wine and snacks; moving tales of love, loss, and family; Sarah McLachlan.

Was this the greatest Wednesday night out in Lewiston’s history?

McLachlan returned to Artpark to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The musical icon, Lilith Fair creator and Sarah McLachlan School of Music founder was, per usual, vocally dynamic, making for a memorable occasion. As she did in 2014, McLachlan shared stories, explained song origins and thanked fans for supporting her now 31-year career.

Ironically, the singer seems genuinely grateful and happy to be performing in front of an audience – which, on this night was around 4,000. It’s incongruous because the audience couldn’t be more appreciative of McLachlan’s talent or pleased to hear her sing.

McLachlan was met with hardy cheering as she walked out to greet the capacity crowd. Like a race car driver, she hit the ignition switch and blasted off with a cluster of hit songs, including “Possession,” “I Will Remember You,” “In Your Shoes,” “Fallen” and “Forgiveness.”

The singer candidly shared how she fell in love with her best friend’s ex, married him, had two children, and then lost him to divorce. Ashwin Sood also was McLachlan’s drummer, so ... awkward.

“Adia” was the song McLachlan wrote when trying to reconcile with her friend. She sang it with passion and strength.

Throughout the first set, McLachlan performed in front of a mic, sometimes with a guitar, and other times at the piano. The BPO accompanied her backing band and gave extra substance to songs. McLachlan called the orchestra magical.

After a short intermission, McLachlan returned with “Building a Mystery,” “Hold On” and “U Want Me 2.”

She told the audience her two girls, now 17 and 12, are the love of her life. As the audience melted with that knowledge, McLachlan joked how much she enjoys slow, depressing songs, because they allow her to work out her, um, stuff.

“Sweet Surrender” was given, but with a twist. McLachlan said she had hoped to pen the song for a film. She read the script, found inspiration, and then saw a rough cut – which was lousy. McLachlan bailed on the movie, but got a hit single for her effort.

She noted the song was meant to be slower and more contemplative. Having the BPO by her side provided McLachlan the opportunity to revise.

A happy song followed, but with a wink. McLachlan said “Loving You Is Easy” was written when she thought new love was on the horizon. Turned out, the dude was dud.

McLachlan smirked as she noted she, again, got a song out of the deal.

As she urged people to find connectivity and kindness in a divisive world, McLachlan offered “World On Fire.”

The second set ended with, perhaps, McLachlan’s most popular song, the singalong “Ice Cream.”

With the audience clapping and saying, “We love you, Sarah,” the performer returned for an encore. In between more rounds of thank yous to her supporters, McLachlan performed “Fear” and “Love Come.” The night ended with a heartfelt rendition of “Angel.”

Though her personal life has taken unexpected turns, McLachlan’s career continues to flourish. She hosted the Juno Awards earlier this year, and is working on songs for a new record.

The world of music has been so bountifully blessed with a bevy of wonderful female vocalists. McLachlan is as vocally gifted as any modern-day singer. In two visits to Artpark, she has been pitch-perfect.

In fact, when considering her talent, range, song selections, stories and special moments – not to mention a refreshing appreciation of platform and participation – this writer would say McLachlan is in a class of her own.

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